Here's the deal, my car doesn't like starting lately. I went through
the whole ignition switch fiasco, new battery, etc. But the funny thing
is that after I have got it started when I park it and shut it off, it
will start again, and again, and again right at that time. An hour
later, not so much.
I have also discovered that to really get it started I have to turn the
wheel so it locks in place then sort of twist the wheel to the left and
turn the ignition, then it will ~probably~ start ~often~. When it
doesn't start it just sort of sits there like it wants to, but
something won't let it.
So this is just not making sense to me. Unless it's some anti-theft
thing with the steering wheel? This doesn't sound like a starter going
out, does it? I am loath to bring the car in to have anyone look at it,
rather not spend the money ya know? Good thing that AAA membership
arrived in the mail!
Any advice is much appreciated!
That having been established, maybe you could give us a little better
description about how it behaves. If it has been sitting for a while,
and you try to start it, does the starter activate, does the engine
turn over ('crank') at normal speed, do you hear indications that it
is trying to fire?
No, it doesn't crank or turn or anything really. You can hear a sound
like electricity being delivered but nothing. Either it does nothing or
it cranks and starts. There is juice, but no bang. But if you play with
the steering wheel while turning the key then it's like something
aligns and bang, it starts. Takes awhile though. Doesn't seem to be
getting worse either.
Okay, that helps a lot...
For some reason or the other, when you turn on the start switch, it
does not always send power to the starter motor...
One of the things that can cause this is called a 'neutral safety switch'.
This switch is keyed to the automatic transmission, and the purpose it
to prevent the car from 'cranking' unless the transmission is in Park
or Neutral. Sometimes these switches get cranky, or the position of
the shift lever is not aligned to the position of the switch. Anyway,
if this thing is acting up, you might well have such problems.
Some cars also have a passkey security system. This is the GM type
key that has a little black tab built into it...Inside the tab is a
and when you put the key into the switch, the computer checks the
resistance of that tab and compares it with a standard resistance
value. If they two don't match, the starter does not activate. The
resistance reader in the steering column/switch assembly is often
at fault. Dont know if the Prizm has one of these, but if it does, this
can be the whole problem. The simple fix is to have a mechanic
bypass the passkey reader. A less simple fix is to replace the damn thing.
This all goes without saying that any intermittent break in the start switch
wire which should go to the solenoid can give you this problem.
An intermittent solenoid can also give you this problem.
And, clearly a bad starter can do it.
Poor cable or wiring connections, grounds, etc are common causes.
These are just a few of the things that you can think about and perhaps
Thanks. No little black thing on the key. So you think it's the
starter? Any clue why it starts 100% after running awhile?
I appreciate the info. Maybe it's time to drop the thing off somewhere
and have smart people look at it. It's past me at this point. Get an
estimate or looksee at least.
That neutral safety switch thing sounds like a good possibility though.
Anyone want to buy a used Geo, cheap???
No, I am not sure why it starts 100% after running a while.
You just have to get in there and start wringing out the
various circuits until you pinpoint the cause of the problem.
Sometimes it isn't electrical.. There have been cases where
something, fuel, water or whatever, loads the cylinder or cylinders
when the car is stopped. A so called hydrostatic lock. The
engine cant move until that bleeds away. This is unusual,
and I doubt it applies to you, but a good technician should be
able to eliminate many of the questionable areas.
Then, as Sherlock Holmes said, 'Eliminate all other factors, and
the one which remains must be the truth ...'
One thing I have discovered is that the neutral safety switch is
usually attached to the PRNDL? If so, the PRNDL is inbetween the seats
on the floor, not on the steering column. Maybe I can take a looksee in
there. I am going to try starting it in neutral, see if that makes any
Appreciate the feedback! Big Sherlock Holmes fan btw.
That is sometimes a good way to check it out.
With the column unlocked, move the shift lever up and down through the
detents, and then see if it has any effect.
You will find it if you are systematic in what you do.. Dont throw parts
What kind of car is this? What year? What ever it is I think it is
the starter because this happened to my dads 84 gmc sierra and if the
car rolls al little or if it was recentley on it will probaly start.
If the car is manual you would notice mabe it won't start but if you
put the clutch in and roll (not pop starting) and then you turn the key
when the car is stopped it might start. Also is the car manual or
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